Whispers I, 30 x 40 inches, mixed media on canvas, SOLD
The Ghost and The Meditator, two separate canvases each 30 x 40 inches, acrylic and charcoal on canvas, SOLD
Kate, 40 x 30 inches, acrylic on canvas, SOLD – prints, pillows, phone cases, and other products also available on Pixels.com
Expansion, 36 x 48 inches, acrylic and oil on canvas, SOLD – prints, pillows, phone cases, and other products also available on Pixels.com
Flow, 72 x 48 inches, acrylic on canvas, SOLD – prints, pillows, phone cases, and other products also available on Pixels.com
Dreams and affirmations, 72 x 36 inches, acrylic on canvas, SOLD – prints, pillows, phone cases, and other products also available on Pixels.com
Animal spirits, two separate canvases each 36 x 48 inches, acrylic on canvas, SOLD – prints, pillows, phone cases, and other products also available on Pixels.com
The orgasm portrait series was a project I began during my senior year at University and completed when I was 23. Interestingly, these paintings – their colors and compositions – are not necessarily my aesthetic or something I would want to hang on my wall. A lot of them are actually quite overpowering. It’s interesting to watch people look at the paintings when they don’t know the stories behind them. Some people find the paintings more intriguing, others become embarrassed or retreat. In total, I interviewed 40+ people – half were men, and half were women. Two paintings depicted couples. I compiled all of their stories along with my visual interpretation of their words (the paintings) and some more thoughts into an ebook, but have also included a few of the stories below.
Artist’s statement: I have created paintings of sexual energy via the experience of the orgasm by interviewing many members of society. Orgasm Portraits has been an exercise in transformation and an exploration of character intended to celebrate the similarities and differences among people in an unconventional way.
One of my original objectives was to make abstract art more accessible by depicting an experience we all share, but interpreting one of our more intimate moments, like orgasm, opened the door to many possibilities. A major theme of this project is the sublimation of one kind of energy into another. I have taken the words and feelings that others have shared with me and turned them into a painting in an attempt to create a language that is unique for this series and for each portrait within the series.
The interviewees’ description inspires the form, and the energy inspires the palette. Energy includes everything that is not said, such as tone of voice and body language. Orgasms themselves are raw and unfiltered, however, as they are verbalized they become more refined and manipulated. This affects how the paint is applied and layered. I take as many details as I can into account as I create compositions because it is morally imperative for me to remain as truthful as possible to the individuals whose portraits I paint, just as they have been generous in sharing such deeply personal experiences with me.
It is my hope that through these portraits and their accompanying interviews the audience will adopt a more positive attitude about the different ways people express themselves… I want to offer people another way to understand their desires while gaining a greater appreciation of themselves and each other.
Anna’s Orgasm, 30 x 48 inches, acrylic and oil on canvas (original painting is SOLD – prints, pillows, phone cases, and other products also available on Pixels.com)
Favorite colors: “All colors depending on the circumstances. Deeper colors to light during orgasm.”
“Oh God, I’ve never been asked to describe this on the spot before. I like all orgasms; I like the awkward ones and the ones where we come together. If I don’t trust a guy I can’t orgasm with him. Trust is huge! It feels like all the events in my life culminate in this hot, warm explosion! Everything travels through me; secrets that my body stores. Each one is different. It’s an affirmation of life. You forget yourself, and through that you realize yourself. When I’m with a partner I feel pure unity that I can’t experience any other way. The possibility that it might hurt excites me. It starts as a warm tingly caress inside of me and then shoots to my lower back and thighs, down to my feet and up my torso. Then my body is totally relaxed. Generally it comes from really intense movements that result in this total stillness and calm. It’s like you experience different selves. The goal isn’t necessarily to orgasm, it’s to continue feeling pleasure. After you orgasm you change, it’s like you’re a different person. It’s like running through a mud puddle. When it’s happening there is so much agitation and there is just one muddy color. After it settles, everything goes back to its individual state. I’m loud, which is interesting because typically in public situations I’m not loud. It’s funny, it just comes out, I don’t think about it.”
Artist interpretation: Anna is very able to express herself and I think her portrait is very easy to relate to. Essentially I divided the canvas in half diagonally with darker colors on the lower half and lighter colors on the upper half because she said she feels like a different person before and after orgasm. This transition is also emphasized by the shading of blue to white. Because she talks about the pleasure circulating and then unfolding in a hot warm explosion I alluded to the image of a flower blossoming. There are two “leaves” on either side of the bottom of the canvas. As the lines loop around they send energy into the center of the canvas where the tension eventually results in the yellow and orange “petals.” The culmination of her (and her partner’s) efforts and the beautiful possibilities of their experience produces an expansive movement which shoots right off the canvas.
Veronica Monet’s Orgasm, 24 x 36 inches, acrylic and oil on canvas
Favorite colors: “Lavender and sage, all kinds of purple and green, except grass green. I don’t like warm colors like orange and yellow or salmon pink. I like violet and blue and reds with blue in them- I love blue!”
“I have so many different kinds. My favorite ones keep me on edge until… it’s like riding a wave, and there’s really little orgasms that lead to the big one. Often I have female ejaculation followed by little orgasms. There’s a lot of practice and skill that allows me to be able to ejaculate and be able to go back into the plateau state leading to the big orgasm. I have to constantly build energy and make sure not to hold my breath. What I consider a big orgasm is one that makes me feel like I have united myself with the universe.
The first time I was doing a tantric class there was a bunch of us in a room- all women, fully clothed. We were lying on the floor with our knees bent and contracting our PC muscles tilting our pelvises. Relax PC muscles, relax pelvis, breathe out. Breathe in, tilt pelvis, contract PC muscles…. breathing in through the nose, out through the mouth. As I was doing this I was thinking to myself that these people are out of their minds! While I was plotting my escape I had a fire-breath orgasm. For me it was very confrontative to have this. I’m not sure how easy it would be to replicate this now as it seemed to have a mind of its own. It started in the base of my spine and then shot up through my spine and out through the top of my head and it felt like a ball of fire. I didn’t know anything about kundalini at the time but I felt like I had sex with the universe. It felt deeply profound and spiritual and on the downside I felt I didn’t deserve to be doing this. I stayed away from tantra for ten years. I became a believer in tantra but stayed away from it because it scared me.
Later on I started meditating and it changed my relationship to sex too. In masturbation I could female ejaculate or have an internal orgasm. Before meditation, my fantasies were about having sex, a lot of times it was about non-consensual sex and I had a lot of rape fantasies. It made me feel like I was being a bad feminist, but it also made it even more delicious because it was so taboo.
Orgasms that are related to taboo are contracted and the energy goes in. The fire-breath orgasm is expansive whereas shame based orgasms are more contracted. When I have a shame-based orgasm it’s like I’ve stolen a cookie form the cookie jar, it has that kind of enjoyment to it. Like I’ve been a naughty girl. However, that kind of orgasm has a penalty attached to it in the way that it erodes my self-esteem, which is where most people’s sexuality is. The taboo stuff has a place in my life, but right now it is an undesirable state of affairs. I would prefer to have an expansive state of affairs. When I masturbate now, I don’t even think about sex, I might be thinking about world peace, or something specific like going to the Congo and meeting some Bonobos or talking to a live audience of 5,000 people. I’m asking myself if I can handle these situations, and I bypass all the doubts and go straight for the fantasy of these beautiful things. When I orgasm those things become a reality. In that moment anything is possible and those visualizations become an affirmation; I’m setting my subconscious up to accept these things as reality. After the orgasm I might start to cry or pray or repeat a mantra. It’s like there’s no social barriers and I tap into a part of myself that’s pure passion and pure desire. That makes me feel whole, grounded, connected, and hopeful. My whole body becomes energized and I feel it in every fiber of my body from my genitals to the top of my head and the pleasure is much more intense than when I’m thinking the dark taboo stuff.
I was multiply orgasmic with my husband and he often entered me from behind. My husband was getting way, way up there to what is being called the A-spot at the base of the cervix. We were in this very open loving place and we both had an orgasm simultaneously… it felt like his sperm had gotten up inside of me in places where I felt like I’ve never had anything. I knew something special had happened and a few weeks later I found out that I was pregnant.
Expanding on this I would want to make a distinction between internal orgasms and female ejaculations. When I female ejaculate there’s sort of a “masculine” energy to it, and I use that for lack of a better word. It’s less of an emotional thing and much more in the body. It’s focused on me. When I have an internal orgasm it’s a more vulnerable state of affairs and I feel much more bonded to my partner and I want the cuddling and the eye gazing. I’ve given a lot of men I’ve worked with their very first internal orgasms and there’s usually a lot of tears. The minute your hand goes up their rectum they turn into a puddle of tears. We’re all the same, and penetration creates vulnerability for most people. We have stereotypes that men can have sex with anybody and walk away and women want to be cuddled and held after sex, but it’s nonsense. Instead of trying to associate it with a penis or vagina, I want to educate people that it’s about whether or not you’re ejaculating or having a G-spot orgasm. Ejaculation is a different kind of orgasm. It’s kind of like going to the bathroom and it doesn’t really make you want to be held; it’s like “I’m going to go off and do something else now.” Also, this current culture is hung up about is homosexuality. The other thing they’re allergic to are females stepping out of traditional roles. One of the ways we can control women is by controlling their bodies. Freud’s penis envy was ridiculous. As fetuses we all started off as females, we’ve all got the same tissues it’s just been emphasized more or less. The clitoris runs all the way to the bottom of the labia and literally can be limp or erect just like a penis but it’s just not exposed. The fact is so many doctors are being so resistant to this information. Skene’s glands in a female are right where the prostate would be if you were a male. They produce female ejaculate, and there are ducts, like little tubes that run into your urethra, but right at the opening right where the urethra are two little ducts. Some female ejaculate comes from those ducts and some comes from the urethra. Nature doesn’t make ducts if there’s no liquid running through them!
I personally believe that sexuality and orgasms is where our power lies. All art comes from our orgasmic capabilities. Compare Pollock with Grandma Moses, if it doesn’t make you a creative person it will at least change the way you make things. Contracted energy is less creative. A huge Gothic Tower has a lot of sexual expression. The clients I worked with went from timid to having sex with me for a few months and saying: “Screw my boss, I’m starting my own company!”
Orgasms can be therapy. One client of mine was so boring, all he wanted to do was smoke cigarettes, drink wine, and play strip poker. Finally I was able to give him an orgasm, he started to cry and he told me that he had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and he had a very short time to live. People can use orgasms to process death too. It helps you get in touch with your feelings; it helps you speak about things you don’t know how to speak about. Sex makes you feel alive- it creates life! It makes us feel alive and vibrant. It is the opposite of death. We could be using orgasms as a way to attract the things we want, to heal old hurts; I recently used orgasm to process grief. It’s not like I feel like orgasms are one stop shopping, but why not?
Sex is so much more than your genitals. We need to unlearn the shame that has been put upon us. I had something bordering on a kundalini awakening about two years ago. I had been doing a personal meditation practice for sacred sex, which raised my kundalini energy so I would be more receptive to sex. I abstained from sex for nine months and when I had sex with this partner, a union was created… at the moment at full penetration I did feel like we were one person for a brief moment. When he orgasmed I felt a very powerful energy, and that feeling lasted with me for a month. I had to look it up what it was and found out the energy that I was feeling was called: kriya; a spontaneous muscle contraction brought on by certain tantric and meditative practices which felt, for me, like being in the plateau stage of orgasm for an entire month. That taught me that sex is way more than sex. This tantric breathing thing is very powerful. It turns sex into something very expansive. It is a doorway into the divine. You’re going to go places spiritually.
I’ve learned a lot about sex from watching my dogs have sex. One liberating thing for me was watching Shekhina, my female dog, who had no shame and was really in her body. I wonder how many females feel devalued by the fact that we have to sit, squat and spread our legs. We don’t have pride in the way our bodies function, like we are malfunctioned or on the lacking side of things. An animal is not dirtied or perverted by politics or religion, rather her functions are natural. I watched her and my male dog play back and forth, and she would only do what she was comfortable with at her own pace… in human culture we’d call that being a prick tease. I thought, “now there was my role model that I can emulate!” Watching her gave me permission to say no. If I wasn’t able to say no and given into other’s expectations, I wouldn’t have had the wonderful experiences I’ve had. Humans need to get off the pedestal we think we’re on, that we’re the pinnacle of creation and evolution. We have blind spots and problems. Bonobos solve a lot of their problems through sex. I’m all about getting back to what we can learn from nature.”
Artist interpretation: The creation of pleasure, represented by the large green spiral, is a large part of Veronica’s life. Toward the center of the spiral blue lines almost fuse with each other- this is where the creation begins. I chose green as the color of the spiral because it is a very healing and soothing color, and it acts as fertile ground for psychological growth. The light blue lines that begin at the bottom of the canvas curve around and branch off near the top of the canvas represent her sexual evolution and expansion of self through pleasure and self discovery. Eventually the blue lines reach a white zone at the very top of the canvas, which signifies her awareness of sensual energy and her mastery of sexual experience. The long lines in her portrait correlate with her ability to maintain pleasurable feelings and orgasm as well as her integrity. Sometimes people’s portraits end up with a lot of small scattered shapes (because they’re not able to focus their energies or their desires are not in harmony), but she has a lot of knowledge and ability in this area. Her energy is harmonious, everything is working together to maintain synergy. The underwater feel lends itself to many things, like how she is in touch with her subconscious, the collective unconscious, sensuality, etc. I found it interesting that there are practically no angles in her painting, I think I made the forms so rounded because she has a really powerful feminine energy.
Kane’s Orgasm, 24 x 36 inches, acrylic on canvas – (original painting is SOLD – prints, pillows, phone cases, and other products also available on Pixels.com)
Favorite colors: “I don’t have a favorite color. I love color combinations – blue and orange is my favorite.”
“It’s such a paradox for me because it’s mentally wanting something, wanting something, and then checking out once I get it. Physically it’s a peak state almost like tension and relaxation hit a harmonic frequency. Mentally I relax where I physically get tense. Sometimes I feel like it’s the last day of a vacation- I’m the most relaxed but I know it’s over tomorrow.
There’s a sadness that occurs because I know that so many things are held in anticipation and then when it’s actually there I know a part of me is gone and it’s like I want to hold that anticipation forever because when I have an orgasm it’s like giving up. A part of me gets a little depressed because I feel like I gave into impulse. It’s like a slide, if I climb higher it will be more fun but at some point I want to give into the fun. Afterwards I feel like a part of me has died. There was a time that I could hold my orgasm and not ejaculate and pull it in and up to my heart. And when I let it go it wasn’t merely a tension I let go of, it was a ripple felt throughout the entire body. The pleasure itself was felt in the belly but the ripples were felt throughout the entire body. Afterwards I think a lot of guys feel tired, but to me it’s more intimate than that. The pressure that’s supporting my heart is gone. Physically I feel this spot right under my heart that’s usually full is now empty and it almost burns.
Now it’s different because my wife and I are so afraid of having more babies. I’m so concerned that even the littlest bit will make a baby that I pull out and have it done with as soon as possible. I know my wife is less satisfied and I know I’m less satisfied. It’s like the wild versus the civilized, or instinctual desire versus conditioning. The wild part wants millions of babies and sex because I want to spread my seed but then the civilized part of me goes, “No, you’ve made a commitment, you can’t support more children.” I want so badly to let the wild be free but the thought of the consequences keeps it caged. I feel caged, but at the same time I feel like my cage has forced me to perceive freedom in a way that’s closer to the essence of myself.
Although I’m caged I feel I’m no longer dependent on seeking freedom externally, rather it’s forced me to meet myself. It’s like a majestic tiger which you can’t let loose because you’re afraid it’s going to eat everybody. I think as a tiger it’s somewhat comforting to know I’m caged because if I was let out, I’d eat them all and so I feel like this cage isn’t really a cage but I keep myself there because if I got out and ate everyone there would be nothing left to experience. I will have eaten them all.”
Artist interpretation: Kane, although a very liberated person, cannot express himself fully sexually because he is hindered by the situation he’s in. Although he and his wife’s relationship is positive, there is inhibition in the bedroom because of their fear of having more children. All this comes into play in his portrait. There is a general movement outward yet there is a trio of loops (responsibility to husband, wife, child) pulling him back in. His wife’s energy is represented in the burgundy and orange ovary-like forms on the upper right side of the canvas. His energy, represented in blue, weaves its way between the “ovaries” like a slide but then juts out to the side because it knows what will happen if it keeps going. The spiral in the top left signifies the pleasure he feels from orgasm and the larger spiral in the lower middle signifies the pleasure he feels from meeting himself.
Aron’s Orgasm, 36 x 48 inches, acrylic and oil on canvas
Favorite colors: “Bright colors. I like the flamboyancy and depth of color.”
“Orgasms are spectacular. I don’t focus on the feeling of the orgasm. I focus on the moment that I’m in. Orgasms come second to the connection of sharing my body and having someone share their body with me. The apex of lovemaking comes in complete openness and comfort. They start well before I’m actually in the literal process ejaculating. There’s a very enjoyable sensation telling me the orgasm’s coming. It goes away and then comes back again. It builds from enjoyable to climactic and amazing. There are intervals. It builds and builds and builds! There’s a second climax within the orgasm, this is the magical part where everything gets released. When the second climax subsides, there are instances where I loose my hearing. I can hear my own breathing though. I’m almost completely shut off to things around me; it brings me into my own inner being for about 30 seconds to a minute. There’s a medium-tone humming sound that drowns everything out. Afterwards the only things I hear are really obscure things like the neighbor’s AC unit, things that I would not hear normally. The head of the penis is where most sensation takes place. The other sensation is a beautiful, magical floating energy or aura that’s around my partner and I. The best ones are when it’s simultaneous with my partner. I am quiet. I’m resistant to being loud; it’s a turn-off to myself. I’m calm. I’m sensitive to my partner’s needs and communication is huge. I want to be exploratory, so knowing what she likes is really important. It must be mutual.”
Artist Interpretation: Aron asked for bright colors and he got them! The white wavy bits in the middle represent the two climaxes he feel within the orgasm. The second wave in the top left is a little less neat because that’s the one where “everything gets released.” All the “clues” that indicate an orgasm is coming are the playful shapes surrounding the phallic form that is moving diagonally from the top left to the lower right area of the canvas. This portrait has an underwater feeling because in the moment he has shut off the outside world and been brought to his “own inner being.” But because he generally focuses on experience he and his partner are sharing, the composition, like Aron, is very open and receptive to energy around himself. Everything is harmonious and the forms are almost dancing with one another.
Adam’s Orgasm, 24 x 36 inches, acrylic on canvas
Favorite colors: “Cool colors, purple, green, blue, black, white.”
“My orgasms are really tense and tight. My muscles constrict a lot. Sometimes I will throw out my neck! It’s like I’m being stretched like taffy, it can be painful. It’s like my veins are being filled with syrup and it goes down into my legs. My upper body spasms and I make choking noises, some guttural gasping. Usually I’m concentrating on not hitting my head on something hard. I like to think of my toes and what they’re doing. There was one guy I was with who always called attention to his feet so I can’t help but think of that. My emotional state is like a stasis. I’m really conscious of what my face is doing, it’s a ridiculous expression- it should never be seen! I have no idea what’s going on inside of them but I don’t think they’re having as much fun as me. My body’s like a little spring. Orgasms are better by myself because I’m not thinking about how I appear to others. Afterwards it’s like I’m not tired, I could eat some popcorn or call my mother. There’s been one or two that have wiped me out though. I feel like I have wings that are growing out of my back and my shoulders get thrown back. The energy level is like a quick ascent and then a plateau, it goes down, goes up, and then down again. I was Mormon so religious imagery seems fitting; it’s hard for me to talk about sex without feeling blasphemous.”
Artist interpretation: Adam is an extremely charismatic person, so a powerful image was required to compliment his personality. When he mentioned he liked religious imagery I immediately visualized his portrait as you see it now- Jesus in rapture. Although, in this case, he’s being healed rather than crucified. Because he doesn’t like his facial expressions to be seen, I hid his face. There’s a subtle hint of silver wings coming out of his back, and a little curl of pleasure around his toes- areas that he’s paying attention to. He also said that the pleasure rises and then plateaus and then rises and falls again, which I represented in the movement of the waves swirling around his body. They eventually dissipate around the top of his head because for him the pleasure usually tapers off after climax.
Marcy’s Orgasm, 16 x 20 inches, acrylic on canvas
Favorite colors: “Pastels, pink, yellow, and blue.”
“I know it’s weird, but sometimes there’s a tingling all over. I feel it all over, but the intensity is in the core of my body. My hands will ball up into fists and I can’t open them. I feel kind of sad when it happens. There’s a lot of times when I’ll cry. There’s intense shame. Sometimes it’s painful, and I don’t enjoy that pain. It seems like there’s so much external pressure when it happens that it’s not that great. When I’m by myself it’s better; it’s almost like there’s a spiritual connection. A rising up, almost out of my body. I feel a real connection to myself. Peace. It helps me realize that it’s okay. I’m not judged at that point- it’s like I’m singing opera.”
Artist interpretation: This portrait has a special place in my heart because Marcy was making some courageous transformations in her life at the time when I interviewed her and I can see it reflected in her portrait. If you were to draw an imaginary line horizontally through the middle of this painting you would see what I mean. The lower half is rather repressed; there is a little figure that is struggling with the experience, crouching with clenched fists, whereas the upper half is breaking free and thriving in its liberation.
Steve’s Orgasm, 24 x 30 inches, acrylic and oil on canvas
Favorite colors: “An elusive blue, dark blue, and yellow.”
“‘Well,’ said Pooh, ‘what I like best,’ and then he had to stop and think. Because although eating honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.” – A.A. Milne
“I remember my first orgasm. It was a most welcome surprise celebrating my induction into puberty. It was, as the poet Wallace Stevens wrote, ” The intensest rendezvous… lighting the highest candle against the night…” But not long after, my orgasm became a problem and orgasms were soon my enemy. For some reason I thought of Einstein’s theory of relativity, how each orgasm was like matter transformed into the purest energy… like the speed of light squared. But my orgasms were also like recalcitrant children, boundless and out of control, coming and going as they pleased. Ironically, or predictably, the better sex felt the less control I had of them. I could not allow myself to simply enjoy that all too brief ecstatic state. Orgasms only brought with them the end of a particular love making session. Once I’d had one, I was finished and did not have even a remote interest in sex for several days after. And I did not want that.
The only time I was able to enjoy them was when I was alone. And then not because I wanted the orgasm; I generally created them in order to stop feeling so distracted. Even masturbation was a problem. Though I knew that my friends were doing it, I still could not escape the horror of thinking that I might be discovered performing my furtive urgent business. It felt like murder. I had no morality, but I was bursting with adolescent guilt and shame. Having an orgasm with a woman was of little more help. I was a premature ejaculator despite girlfriends’ assistance and patience. As I grew older, though, this was no longer an issue. The problem simply went away on its own. In time I learned to control my orgasms, thus increasing their intensity. Still, I realized that this was a problem of its own. I was avoiding them again. I wanted to delay them and only regretted it after they arrived. I could not simply allow myself to feel, to luxuriate in their warmth.
Now, at 59 years old, I have grudgingly accepted an uneasy truce with my orgasms. This requires that I think too much, but that is me and I have stopped fighting. It requires that I weigh out each situation and make a decision as to whether experiencing an orgasm is worth the time I will feel estranged from sex. I read that Salvador Dali wrote that whenever he had an orgasm he believed that he’d lost another painting. I understand his sentiment, though I think it pretentious for anyone but a genius to make such a claim. Still, when I do allow myself to fully experience my orgasms, they are like a physical manifestation of God. They begin as a slight but increasing vibration which rapidly spreads from my prostate down my thighs to my curling toes, over my stomach and chest and actually expire in my head. I do see colors, or a color. I see a blue that I have never found in nature or art. That blue is a color that, at times I absently find myself seeking.”
Artist interpretation: In the beginning, or in the lower left area of the painting, the composition is not very controlled (notice the flailing blue and black lines), but a little more structure is established closer to the center with the black line which is moving diagonally from right to left. The white on either side of this black line represents the undeveloped, and the premature ejaculation, which kind of naturally fades away. There’s a period of excitement and build-up and release, but his sexual energy doesn’t explode of the canvas, it’s a little tamer because he wants to enjoy the sex. In order to do this he contains it rather than become estranged by it. I wanted to have the elusive blue be something Steve never quite gets to experience in its full intensity, so I have him searching for it, as the black squiggly line, in the top right corner. The search is bittersweet.
Nikita’s Orgasm 2007, 24 x 24 inches, acrylic and oil on canvas (original painting is SOLD – prints, pillows, phone cases, and other products also available on Pixels.com)
Favorite colors: “Cobalt, black and red.”
“This was the very first painting that I did in this series of orgasms. I wasn’t actively thinking about this painting as an orgasm until it was near completion. It originally started out as a self-portrait, but rather than painting a realistic representation of myself, an explosion of color was what felt most true. I remember thinking, “This is my energy… I am an orgasm!” Unlike the other portraits, I wasn’t answering questions about my sexual experiences or including other aspects involved in having an orgasm. I was most concerned with feeling, energy and the interactions of the colors.”
Artist interpretation: As you know, this was the beginning. The painting was primarily based on feeling. Nothing was consciously planned; instead it unfolded as every brushstroke was a reaction to the ones before it. Rather than representing my sexual energy, I focused on who I was under all the layers – under my clothing, skin, language. I wanted to get to the core and express that. I used whatever colors I had nearby that struck my fancy.
The sense of exploration I had whilst painting this reminds me of my first orgasm. I digress………
Betty Dodson said that masturbation is our first and most natural form of sexual activity and if that’s inhibited or damaged, then we suffer for the rest of our lives; I had experienced my first orgasm nearly two years earlier in the dorms at University and thankfully my first successful attempt occurred uninterrupted.
I was sitting at my desk and was supposed to be writing a paper. I was procrastinating; I don’t even remember what I was supposed to be researching. It was so close to the end of the year and I could taste the freedom. My pants were unbuttoned and one of my hands rested on my lap as the other one clicked between pages on the computer screen. The light switch went on in my head and I started rubbing myself under the desk – I looked over and saw my roommate was fast asleep on her bed. I quietly continued, half paying attention as I continued reading the same paragraph over and over. Finally I concentrated on myself, and after about ten minutes I came. It was a perfect feeling, short, but sweet.
I started to laugh victoriously, and then ran out of the room and up the stairs searching for my best friend so I could tell her what had happened. We had debated about whether you could get yourself off without help – she insisted she needed a device- I felt like a whole new world of possibility had just opened up. Anyway, I saw her down the hall and I started exclaiming “You can do it yourself! You can do it alone!” She looked confused. I started waving my hand as I got closer and then quietly motioned – “I just had an orgasm with my hand!” She was shocked, curious; it took her a moment to process the words before her confusion turned to enthusiasm. She was like “I wanna try,” so she went to her room – luckily her roommate was gone, and I went back to writing my paper.
Half an hour later she knocked on my door, smiling. I knew. We started nodding our heads like we had it made. We gave each other hugs and high fives. We were two girls without a care in the world.
“The Little Beast” — you may have noticed this symbol on the homepage… it comes from this painting:
Nikita’s Orgasm 2009, 24 x 30 inches, acrylic and oil on canvas
I thought about painting my own orgasm every year but decided to move on from the series (mostly). By 2010, I thought I had wrapped up the series, but occasionally I’ll still paint one when I get commissioned or a friend wants one. Below is a painting I did after the main series. Just as my interpretation of people’s stories evolves, my style continues to evolve:
All artwork © Nikita Coulombe